Training is an instructor-led program which is guided by pre-designed content to fill in the skills-gap or knowledge gap among the trainees. On the other hand, learning is a more self-directed initiative for increasing one’s capability and potential. Training is considered to be provided FOR employees whereas learning is supposed to be initiated BY the employees. As a result, training is being redefined across major organizations in the last few years. There is a talk of creating learning environments within the organizations in line with the shift to a learning paradigm. It is believed that this shift will have a major impact on the way profitability is determined in the future along with the role of learning development professionals. What are the reasons for these developments? Let’s take a critical view of the same.
Development of technology: The first and perhaps the foremost reason for this shift is the rapid development in technology. There is a lot of information that is accessible to employees outside of their organizational domain. Instructors are no longer the repositories of information. Hence, there is a fundamental need for the instructor to transform from an instruction provider to a knowledge facilitator. His role has now become more holistic – to guide employees to learn in the best possible way.
Need to be competitive: The second reason to opt for the new learning paradigm is the need to remain competitive. Organizations need to help employees assimilate new skills and techniques to remain competitive. There is a need for a continuous learning environment to enhance competency levels of employees within the organization. It is no longer adequate to have once in a year training programs during off-site meetings.
Requirement of skilled manpower: The third reason is the demand for skilled and talented manpower across organizations. This has put severe pressure on organizations to work towards retaining talent. Organizations are increasingly valuing employees as a resource who need to be given opportunities for personal development and growth.
Development of learning technologies: The fourth and perhaps the most significant reason is the development of learning technologies such as LMS and LCMS. The learning management system has brought a new dimension to learning within the corporate environment. Thanks to these systems, employees are encouraged to learn at their own pace, at a time of their choice. Knowledge transfer is now seen more as a peer-to-peer learning with collaborative technology to support it.
It therefore makes sense for organizations that value employees as partners in progress to adopt the new learning paradigm and refrain from administering training as it has traditionally been done in the past.